Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The more than 500 residents of Hoima district who were evicted from their ancestral land in Hoima early this year, have sued the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner Micheal Kyakashari, the District Police Commander Patrick Bogere and seven other people for unlawful eviction.
The group consisting of cultivators and pastoralists was evicted in February by a team of police officers and private guards who raided the homes in Waaki North, Waaki South, Kapapi Central, Runga, and Kiryatete villages in Kapapi and Kiganja sub-counties. The land in question measures 926.25 hectares on block 9 plot 38.
During the eviction, more than 50 homes were set ablaze and an unspecified number of animals including cows and goats looted. Some of the evictees then pitched camp at Rwenyana Gospel Church in Kapaapi sub-county while others were scattered in the neighbouring villages where they slept in the cold.
More than 10 people who opposed the eviction were picked up by security during the eviction and detained at Hoima Central Police Station. The evictees have now gone to court seeking an order to return to their land with immediate effect.
Through their lawyer Anthony Odur, the evictees are pursuing criminal responsibility against the RDC, the DPC and individuals listed as Moses Byangire Asiimwe, Brigadier Peter Nabasa, William Ndaula Gafayo, Nathan Kiiza Byarugonjo, Micheal Oketcha, Oromo Luzira and Magnum security company Limited. They say that the accused persons jointly coordinated and caused their brutal eviction from their ancestral land.
According to Odur, the residents were evicted without any court order, yet still, the eviction was done during the night, an act which contravenes provisions of the Land Act.
On February 22, 2023, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba ordered the more than 500 families that were evicted to return to their land. She directed the district security committee to work with the local leaders in the area to ensure that the families are returned to their ancestral land immediately.
But to date, the evictees cannot access their land following the deployment on the contested piece of land.